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The history of Columbia County, Wisconsin, containing an account of its settlement, growth, development and resources; an extensive and minute sketch of its cities, towns and villages--their improvements, industries, manufactories, churches, schools and societies; its war record, biographical sketches, portraits of prominent men and early settlers; the whole preceded by a history of Wisconsin, statistics of the state, and an abstract of its laws and constitution and of the constitution of the United States

Butterfield, C. W.
III.--Pre-territorial annals of Wisconsin,   pp. 29-41 PDF (6.5 MB)

Page 34

so much of the region northwest of the Ohio, as had been settled by Virginians
or might after-
ward be settled by them. But as, previous to her yielding all rights to territory
beyond that.
river, she had not carried her arms into the region north of the Illinois
or made settlements upon
what is now the soil of Wisconsin, nor included any portion of it within
the bounds of an organ-
ized county, it follows that her dominion was not actually extended over
any part of the area
,included within the present bpundaries of this State; nor did she then claim
jurisdiction north
of the Illinois river, but on the other hand expressly disclaimed it.
     Virginia and all the other claimants finally ceded to the United States
their rights, such as
 they were, beyond the Ohio, except two reservations of limited extent; and
the General Govern-
 ment became the undisputed owner of the,"Great West," without
any internal claims to posses-
 sion save those of the Indians. Meanwhile, the United States took measures
to extend its juris-.
 diction over the whole country by the passage of the famous ordinance of
1787, which established
 a government over "the territory of the United States, northwest of
the River Ohio." But this
 organic law was, of course, nugatory over that portion of the region occupied
by the British,
 until their yielding possession in 1796, when, for the first time, Anglo-American
rule commenced,
 ;though nominally, in what is now Wisconsin. By the ordinance just mentioned,
"the United
 States, in congress assembled," declared that the territory northwest
of the Ohio should, for the,
 purposes of temporary government, be one district, subject, however, to
be divided into districts,
 as: future circumstances might, in the opinion of Congress, make it expedient.
It was ordained
 that a governor, secretary and three judges should be appointed for the
Territory; a general
 assembly was also provided for; and it was declared that religion, morality,
and knowledge,
 being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools
and the means of
 education should forever be encouraged. It was also ordained that there
should be neither
 slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said Territory, "otherwise
than in the punishment of
 crimes whereof the party shall have*been duly convicted." Thus was
established the first Magna
 Charta for the five great States since that time formed out of " the
territory northwest of the
 River Ohio," and the first rules and regulations for their government.
     Under this act of Congress, Arthur St. Clair was appointed governor
of the Northwestern
 Territory, as it was called, and Samuel H. Parsons, James M. Varnum, and
John Armstrong,
 judges,-the latter not accepting the office, John Cleves Symmes was appointed
in his place.
 Winthrop Sargeant was appointed secretary.  At different periods, counties
were erected to
 include various portions of the Territory.   By the governor's proclamation
of the 15th of
 August, 1796, one was formed to include the whole of the present area of
Northern Ohio, west of
 Cleveland; also, all of what is now the State of Indiana, north of a line
drawn from Fort Wayne
 " west-northerly to the southern part of Lake Michigan;" the whole
of the present State of
 Michigan, except its extreme northwest corner on Lake Superior; a small
corner in the north-
 east, part of what is now Illinois, including Chicago; and so much of the
present State of Wis-
 consin as is watered by the streams flowing into Lake Michigan, which of
course included an
 extensive portion, taking in many of its eastern and iAterior counties as
now constituted. This
 vast county was named Wayne. So the few settlers then at the head of Green
bay had their
 local habitations, constructively at least, in "Wayne county, Northwestern
Territory." It was
 just at that date that Great Britain vacated the western posts, and the
United States took quiet
 possession of them. But the western portion of what is now Wisconsin, including,
all its territory
 watered by streams flowing northward into Lake Superior, and westward and
southwestward into
 the Mississippi, was as-yet without any county organization; as the county
of St. Clair, including
 tihe Illinois country to the southward, reached no farther north than-the
mouth of Little Macki-
 naw creek, where it empties into the River Illinois, in what is now the
State of Illinois. The

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